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I’ve just returned from yet another amazing trip to the Encaustic Conference, this time at a new location in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Conference Founder and Director Joanne Mattera outdid herself once again in terms of an exciting array of demos, lectures and events over the three days of the conference and the workshops immediately following.
This event attracts artists all over the world and this year there were 35 states in the US represented as well as artists traveling from Canada, England, Mexico, Brazil, Spain New Zealand. The conference was held in Provincetown this year which allowed for some changes to the format and new venues for post conference workshops. I think Joanne found an excellent partner in working with Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill and its Executive Director, Cherie Mittenthal, who was wonderful to work with.
Our first night in P-town was spent at the Lobster Pot with my very happy husband Bill, Mike and Kathryn from Enkaustikos, Kimberly and Judy, my buddies from Portland. This was a great restaurant, not to be missed! They even had a nice steak for me (I’m allergic to seafood). Other restaurants we really enjoyed were The Squealing Pig, Bubalas, and the Portuguese Bakery which had real Malasadas like I get in Hawaii! Our best find was a place called Moby Dick’s in Wellfleet, where Bill said he had the best smoked oysters ever.
We managed to fit is several outings to the surrounding areas and I’m so glad we took the time to do it. Provincetown has so much to offer!
This is the view from the top of the 252 foot tall Pilgrim Monument in the middle of town. The web site refers to the climb as a “heart-healthy walk to the top on 116 steps and 60 ramps,” which by the way is totally worth it.
We booked a dune tour which took us by the famous “dune shacks,” the simple beach cabins of numerous artists and writers during the past century. You can see one here in the upper left area of the photo. Below are cranberry bogs surrounded by sand dunes. It’s gorgeous out there!
Bill and I also treated ourselves to a sunset cruise on our last night, relaxing in the warm breeze. The Pilgrim Monument is way off in the distance.
On Friday night we made our way to the several openings at galleries that were showing encaustic work in conjunction with the conference. We visited the Kobalt Gallery (above), Ernden Fine Art, Bowersock Gallery and my favorite show, Surface Attraction curated by Joanne Mattera and Marla Rice of Rice/Polak Gallery (below).
Later we discovered the wonderful Galeria Cubana, which didn’t have encaustic work but did have some fine paintings we enjoyed very much. Nancy Natale has a nice wrap up of the gallery shows with lots of photos on her blog, so I won’t duplicate her excellent efforts.
The conference itself was excellent again this year, with so many wonderful events going by almost in a blur. I’m including some photos below to give you a flavor of the event, but you really have to attend to understand the importance of this conference to those of us who work in wax. I hope you’ll be able to go sometime.
This year I was on a panel called Mastering Media, a discussion about marketing the art we’re all working so hard to make. I spoke about getting my book, Embracing Encaustic, from and idea into reality and many of the successes and bumps along the way. The audience seemed to really like hearing about all the craziness that went on behind the scenes. My fellow panelists were (from left) Jeff Schaller, Nancy Natale, me, Cherie Mittenthal and moderator Joanne Mattera. Thanks to Corina Alvarezdelugo for allowing me to use her photo here.
Jackie Battenfield, author of the excellent book, The Artist’s Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What you Love, was our keynote speaker. She got the crowd all revved up and organized in thinking about what we should be thinking about next in our careers.
Here’s part of my work in the hotel fair, a new addition to the conference line up. I’ll bring more next time, now that I see how much we all love to shop!
David A. Clark went all out with new work just for the hotel fair and a true installation style. Brilliant! Lisa Pressman has more photos of her room, which includes a piece I bought from Marybeth Rothman. Can you guess which one it is? It will be included in my next post along with my other purchases.
POST CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS
There so much to do before, during and after a class, especially one that you travel to teach. Because of that many teachers will offer to assist a colleague on a pay it forward type of arrangement as I did this year.
I was the assistant for Charly Weissbach’s Mainly Metals class at Castle Hill during the post-conference workshops. Charyl taught her students how to work with most things metallic, from paint to powder, pigment sticks and even metal leaf. Charyl was the assistant for my friend Kimberly’s class last year (see below).
Kimberly Kent had an adventurous class again this year with plein air painting in encaustic. See the little camp stoves and torches they are using? It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you’re up for traveling with your wax it will allow you to paint directly from nature. And who is that little rascal in the cap? Yup, our own Joanne Mattera trying something new.
And that’s a wrap for this post on the 5th International Encaustic Conference. Nancy Natale and Lynette Haggard surprised Joanne with two huge cakes and a card signed by all to thank her for her efforts in making each conference so special. Nancy is pictured here with Cherie and Joanne on the right, wearing special hats for the occasion. Indeed, thank you Joanne!
Hang on folks, I’m almost done blogging about the conference. Can you believe all of this was really packed into one week? Me neither. As they say on TV: “Don’t miss the last 5 minutes!” of this blog post. There’s a surprise at the end. (Aw, now you went and ruined it…)
So this time we made it into Boston on a day that made sense (meaning NOT Monday when everything is closed). It was a beautiful day and we took the ferry from Salem to Boston. It’s the easiest way to get there even though we had a car, and it was much more fun than fighting traffic and looking for parking.
We started out on Newbury Street in the gallery district because there were several shows we wanted to see. Kim Bernard has a show at the excellent Arden Gallery and it was as exciting as I’d hoped. Her sculptures are the perfect compliment to her encaustic paintings and as usual the show was beautifully presented.
Fawn with work by Melody Postma and a beautiful painting by June Stratton
Over at Lanoue Fine Art we enjoyed the current show, but asked for a special showing of Lissa Rankin’s new encaustic paintings. Fawn was completely charming and full of insightful information about all of the work.
Next we headed over to the Copley Society to see the solo show by Donna Hamil Talman who also had work showing at the conference. We had a heck of a time finding it but saw lots of other fun galleries on the way. Donna pairs digital photography with encaustic and collage techniques in much the same way I do, but with drastically different results. I find her work quite mysterious.
The exterior of the museum with interior mural by John Singer Sargent
With our feet failing we hopped on the “T” and were quickly deposited in front of the Museum of Fine Arts. This is a beautiful building filled with a stunning array of art and we could easily have filed our day with this one stop.
After roaming the halls for an hour or so it occurred to me that there was a good chance we might find some ancient encaustic work so we set out on a scavenger hunt. We were getting tired and were just about to give up when I saw the unmistakable image of a funerary portrait reflected in the glass case in front of me. I turned again and again looking for it — I’ve never seen one in person before — but it was like a fun house mirror. Finally I spotted it and ran to the case. You’d think I had struck pure gold by my reaction, and I was glad Bill and I were alone in the room. I can’t fully describe the sense of history I felt in looking at these delicate pieces. These artists struggled then just as i do today to express themselves through their work and that shared experience in powerful. It was such an honor to finally see this work in person.
Portrait mummy of a man
Egyptian, Greco-Roman Period, A.D. 150–175
Findspot: Hawara, Egypt
Height x width: 167 x 35 cm (65 3/4 x 13 3/4 in.)
Encaustic (colored wax) on wood over linen and human remains
Body of man with diagonally crossed wrappings forming a rhomboidal pattern. Panel portrait, rounded at the top, with portrait in encaustic depicting a young man with his face turned slightly to the left. He had dark, curly hair, thick brows, and a full, curly beard, and wears a white chiton and mantle.
Portrait mummy of a youth
Egyptian, Greco-Roman Period, about A.D. 50
Findspot: Hawara, Egypt
Height: 113 cm (44 1/2 in.)
Encaustic (colored wax) on wood; linen; and human remains
Mummy of a child with diagonal cross bandaging; decorated with gilded buttons. The encaustic panel portrait shows an adolescent with dark curly hair, large eyes, and pudgy cheeks. His lips may have been gilded to ensure the power of speech in the afterlife.
I’ll save you some time if you go: these are in the Egyptian Funerary Arts Gallery. This was really one of the highlights of our wonderful, waxy vacation!
First, let me warn you that I’m not even close to done with blogging on the conference. I had to take a break because It was time to make Embracing Encaustic available to purchase online and I was inundated with orders. Nope, not in any way complaining, just a little overwhelmed. In just the first two days I mailed 150 books to 5 countries! Thanks so much for this amazing support. But back to the conference…
One of my favorite parts about the encaustic conference is the chance to meet, face-to-face, so many of my colleagues who I usually only communicate with via email. I love my email but there’s no replacement for real human interaction. I was also able to meet lots of new friends, not only during the sessions I attended during the conference, but after hours when we had time to digest and discuss what we experienced during the day. Here are a few photographs of those events.
Mary Farmer & Kimberly Kent (left), Catherine Nash and my husband Bill Womack
An impromptu discussion outside of the Miles Conrad workshop
Dinner with Joanne Mattera and friends (left), Sheary Suiter joined us on the ferry to Boston
Lobster dinner with the girls (left)…and the boys. Bill again and Ted Loomis.
It’s easy to get involved in the after hours discussions at the conference. If you are in the main building when the last session lets out just hang around for a few minutes and inevitably someone will call out, “Who wants dinner?” Don’t be shy. If no one else is asking you can start up a group. Word travels fast since we all want more time to get to know one another in our short weekend in Beverly. You’ll have new BFF’s in no time.
I’ve spent every waking moment since returning form the encaustic conference getting ready for this day, and I’m thrilled to announce that Embracing Encaustic is now available to purchase online! I am completely blown away by the response already. Thank you so very much for all of your enthusiasm!
Joanne Mattera presents a copy of Embracing Encaustic as a prize for On The Edge
Our encaustic community is one of the most supportive groups I’ve ever been a part of, and that has never been more clear to me than this past week. At the encaustic conference I was teaching two demos, attending classes and trying to (wo)man my vendor table at the same time. At times it was chaos. I wasn’t always there when people wanted to purchase books so sometimes they helped themselves, leaving the appropriate money in exchange. Of course the inventory worked out perfectly in the end, with not one book going astray. How many people would expect that? It’s an amazing community and we are better artists for it. Thank you!